Physick - What do I do first? - Do I have to go the Apothecary route?

Hi citizens, hoping to attend my first event in July.

I’m interested in playing a Physick, as per the title, two main questions:

  1. So the game starts on Friday, I attend the new player briefings. What next? Do I go muck in at the Imperial hospital? Do I find a bunch of adventurers and offer my services as a field medic? I have a few ideas about what my character would do, but I’m curious what would be mechanically sensible to “learn the ropes”.

  2. Will I have a viable character if I skip Apothecary and take “business” rather than herb garden? Will I run out of coin if I take to buying herbs and selling medical services? Again what’s going to work mechanically and I’ll make the character flex to fit it

Cheers and looking forward to july

Welcome to empire. As you are a new player, I think the first thing you should do is just have a bit of a look around your nation. Maybe talk to the egregor of your nation, maybe find out about the group that you can join. Some of them may need medical services if they are going to battle or going on a skirmish.

The imperial hospital is usually for when people come back from battle where you have access to more stuff and you sort some of the really devastating stuff that people come back with like green lung.
All in all, the hospital is probably as formal as it gets when it comes to healers. Mage’s, priest and soldiers all have their own political game but there isn’t really anything like that for healers.

The battle field is where you use the resources on you to patch people up and keep them in the fight. Your abilities to heal someone are no different however you don’t have a whole field of players to get resources from. As a battle field medic, you will be a target for archers and skirmishers however, you should be fairly safe as you will be behind your lines.

Apothecary allows you to make potions. These are good for giving to people and then letting them deal with problems. If you want to sort the problems out yourself, you do not need apothecary. However, herbs are used as a physic, so you will want some. I think herbs go for about a crown each but it will depend on who you are buying from. A business gives you about a throne (8 crowns). I’m not sure how many herbs you get.

  1. After new player, I would also see if you can attend the hospital briefing, both held before time in on Friday. That should give you an idea of both who to talk to in your nation (egregores) and who to talk to at the hospital. If and when you turn up to the hospital in character saying ‘I’m new to Anvil’ will almost certainly get you paired with someone with a bit more experience and you can go from there.

  2. As far as income goes, you do not generally need herbs to heal in the hospital, it’s mostly surgery type healing. However you also are unlikely to make any money at it. You are not likely to make any money with healing services - there are too many people offering it for free. However you will still get your 18 rings regardless, which may be enough for newspapers, beer and cake, depending on your consumption. So you can either buy the herbs you might need, or pick that as your resource as you prefer. If you are going to battle I would see if your egregores can point you towards your field captains or healer wrangler as they may be able to set you up with a group that needs a medic, and may supply you with additional herbs for that use also.

Empire is a game for groups, your biggest in game benefits are from finding or persuading a bunch of other people that you all want the same thing, so try not to think of your resources as ‘yours’ but more what they can do for your group or the one you want to join or create.


You can be a physick without needing to be an apothecary. You could take herb garden to supplement the herbs you use to heal others of special effects (such as cleave, venom, weakness, etc) if you’re taking to the battlefield. You could take business instead of herb garden if you just want to buy herbs, but buying them could be expensive (both in time looking for someone selling at a reasonable rate, and the price of the herbs), especially if certain ones are in high demand. You might offset the cost of herbs by telling your group to supply you with herbs you’ll need to heal them during battles.

If you want to save your coin, you could stick to the Anvil hospital (I highly recommend their new physick briefing, it’s the only new player briefing that I have attended) for physick work, which working in the Anvil hospital can be exciting in its own way; and you won’t need to buy armour and LARP-appropriate weapons, which you’d need for the battlefield as physick, and save some of your RL money.

Yes, talk to your egregores for your nation; don’t do what I did and miss nearly all the new player everythings and not speaking to the egregores until the end of the summit… there’s a lot that I’ve lost out on due to never making the briefings.

Also, being an apothecary doesn’t automatically generate herbs; it only allows you to take herbs and turn them into potions, philtres, elixirs, and salves. Your resource (forest, mine, fleet, business, farm, mana site, congregation, military unit, or herb garden) is how you can generate herbs, ores, and money.


Welcome to the game and the forums!

Remember that you don’t need to spend all your character points at startup. You could quite easily go for Chirugeon and Physick and leave it at that. And then spend further points after your first event.

If you can use herbs (ie, have Physick) but don’t have any herbs on you (ie, not a herb garden), several groups are likly to pass you herbs for battlefield/skirmish use. The Hospital, or your senior healer in your nation, are likely to check that all physicks have a few useful herbs etc before a battle.

Mechanically, yes, ask at the Hospital for guidance with exactly how to use those skills. Hang around and help after a skirmish (short quest, a few dozen people) to get some light practise.

And of course, think of what your character could do when not fixing up stupid thugs who tried blocking axes with their legs, again…

It might be that an interesting objective for your first event would be visiting healers of the ten nations and asking their advice about learning the arts of brewing potions, and which are the best…


Cheers for the replies

So in summary, pitch low, don’t expect to get rich, leave some points free.
Come up with an in-game reason for wandering around and having a go at everything. A quest. I liked Geoffrey’s idea about questioning each faction about methods. Maybe the character is hoping to become “somebody’s” apprentice.

ATM I’ve got an image of an ex barber whose found himself removing more gall stones than fringes.

Try and make friends and get stuck in with larger shinnanigans, shucks it’s like high school again :slight_smile:


Remember you are already someone important in your own home area, that’s why you’ve come to Anvil. Think of it like attending Davos or the G20.


Remember that you can deal with broken limbs or Traumatic Wounds given 2 min of roleplaying and no herbs. This was a major thing I did on a battlefield. I saved on a lot of herbs by judging when to patch someone up quickly and when I had time to do it the slow way.

Apothecary isn’t a particularly interesting skill to take unless you have a solid plan to do something novel with it. No apothecary is better than any other one who has the potion recipe. You rarely need Potion X in a hurry, and potions never expire. So it’s easier to pick your potions up off the lowest bidder.

Since people almost always sell at a markup, you’ll do better out of a herb garden than a business. If you’re Navarri, it also means yo get to vote for Bourse things. On the other hand if you’re League, a Business lets you vote for your Senator. So think about that.


I used to play a League Physik. I would suggest getting a Business. The money just lets you do more, and the elections for senator can give you more game. As for apothecary, I would suggest waiting, play the game. Maybe find one in game and getting a supplier?


I am currently a healer in the League; I’m a member of the Throneguard with a fleet who spends more time on the battlefield than in the hospital.

I have to agree with the suggestion that the herb garden is less important than it sounds unless you are an apothecary; a business, fleet, military unit, farm or any other money-making resource is more useful. Herbs are great, but they are also not created equal, so you will use some herbs more than others and money lets you replace the ones you have used. For example, cerulean mazzarine (also known as the ‘money herb’) is used to fix cleaved and impaled limbs, so you tend to need it right now or someone is out of the battle. I use true vervain (heal up to full) all the time, but the other herbs… I think I have used each one once.

If you want to go on the battlefield, a very good use of three skill-points is Hero / Stay With Me - one hero point and 5 seconds’ roleplay to take someone from dying to 1 life - because sometimes you do not have 30 seconds to carefully apply herbs and bandages. I am a front-line / skirmish healer (I also use hero points to Cleave) though, so a back-line healer may not get as much use out of that combination.

In the end, you need to consider who you want to be. A doctor who makes medicines for their patients? A surgeon who lives to serve in the hospital? A first-response medic who tends to the wounded as soon as they fall? A mystic healer who blends mundane physick with magical healing?

There are so many options, so maybe you should solicit examples of current healers for inspiration.


In the end, you need to consider who you want to be. A doctor who makes medicines for their patients? A surgeon who lives to serve in the hospital? A first-response medic who tends to the wounded as soon as they fall? A mystic healer who blends mundane physick with magical healing?

On the last point; honestly for a first event, wander around and have a go at a bit of everything, get the feel of the place, ingratiate myself with friends of a friend who’ve been going for years. And lets be honest, drink a lot of beer and feel embarrassed about my knocked together costume :slight_smile:

That aside; the folk I know already in attendance are from Varushka, so I’m going to jump in on that nation. I’m thinking a very hard-headed field surgeon used to arguing over fees while a guy lies trapped under a fallen tree. I have an image of somebody wielding a bone saw nonchalantly, with a bad Rusk accent.


The varushkans are known for their trading (not sure if it is on the brief but it is at least what happens in the field). You should have no problem getting hold of herbs and things like that as your group will probably be able to get hold of them fairly easily, for a cheap price, if they are anything like the rest of varushka.

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Varushka, excellent choice! (Of course I may be biased.) We do have a fair amount of traders, so we should be able to help you get up and running, and show your group some of the trading ropes (if that interests you).

Paging @JernauGurgeh, want to throw in some input on medicine from a Varushkan POV?

(He’s a member of my group who helps run the Apothecary Guild but also has a large hand in the Anvil Hospital - he might even be our nation, rep, I can’t recall. No doubt he’ll correct me :wink: )


Thanks for the shout! I’m not currently hospital rep but have been in the past, it’s an interesting thing if you can make it work as it lets you get involved with the wider Empire healing things - I decided not to run again as I’m clerk of the Apothecary guild now. I tend to work triage/hospital and then sell potions by order, or just go out trading. Reading the WoFs will let you see which nation might be low on herbs and potions for the coming event, and having people know what you can make or do definitely helps. Heck, you can even advertise on the citizen’s board in the hub.

As for Varushka specific healing, there’s a lot of leeway for how you represent it. At least some of us are packing bone saws/clay tools, plastic shot glasses (to make crunching sounds with) and leeches, others do mystic healing with crystals and bells. It varies, depending on your background. As for medical knowledge, some are actually educated (at Holberg or other known medical schools), others have a boatload of experience through simply surviving fights and doing meatball surgery, and a few just point healing magic at whoever used blood magic to open the gate and blood-of-the-hydra the missing hand back (looking at you Orcish Egregore.)

Skills: a lot can be done with Chiurgeon, Physick, and appropriate role play. You don’t have to take apothecary, nor do you need a herb garden. You just need access to herbs at some point if you want to use them.


People tend to forget that Physicks can heal CLEAVE and IMPALE with 2 minutes roleplay - no herbs needed - even outside a hospital or other calm setting. VENOM and WEAKNESS however, need herbs or magic to treat.

As for potions - they are there for when access to healers is unlikely or you need an effect in a hurry. For most battlefield stuff, they’re little Physicks in a bottle. For everything else, the list of what they can do is huge, but the exp cost is also a factor.


I have to dd that while many groups will ‘lend’ you healing herbs, if you don;t use them they will ask for them back after any battle you have been in. People keeping herbs that they have been given for a battle, is looked down on IMHO, and certainly I would not ‘lend’ that person any herbs in the future. :slight_smile:

Oh indeed:

“Thank you for those herbs, I used them to save my brother, your brother, your sister, and that battlemage from the other nation. Here are the ones I didn’t use.”

“What do mean herbs cost money?”

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